Road Network Operations
& Intelligent Transport Systems
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Operating Agreements

Inter-agency and inter-company cooperation requirements may need to be formalised. Public/public, public/private, and private/private collaboration agreements and contracts are often needed. These agreements can range from informal agreements to cooperate on day-to-day operational tasks - to more ambitious and formal contracts and Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) which involve sharing of common systems. Midway between these two are the agreements on data exchange - specifying the agreed data formats and minimum data quality requirements (such as accuracy, timeliness, and extent of data consolidation or editing).

The contractual relationships and information flows involved in delivering ITS-based information services can be quite complex. For example, a private sector service provider may need to secure contracts at five levels:

  • with the public data provider
  • with the transport network manager and service operators (where these are different)
  • with another private data supplier (if one is present)
  • with the telecommunications operator who will transmit the data and information to users
  • with the end user or an intermediary who supplies information to the user (such as a motoring organisation)

Much of the groundwork will have been completed at the ITS Framework Plan stage. If the ITS architecture analysis has been planned effectively, the requirements for exchange and transmission of data, information, and other electronic transactions between agencies can be specified in fairly precise terms. This practice is recommended to ensure that the operational requirements of all the parties will be satisfied. The main steps are as follows:

  • Identify the strategic links and specify the nature of the cooperation needed to deliver the required ITS service
  • Identify any institutional gaps and develop options for bridging them
  • Trace the data exchange, information flows, and operational links that will be required
  • Narrow down the specification of the inter-organisational interfaces that will be needed
  • Develop an operational agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) amongst the key players

It is likely that no two stakeholders will have precisely the same set of requirements - since each has individual needs and resources. If it is appropriate - the detailed requirements and responsibilities can be formalised in contracts or formal agreements - so that the receiving party can rely on a minimum performance specification from the provider, and there is a means of redress if this minimum is not achieved.

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